Bay Reads - March 2017
The Thrill of a Good Mystery
Shoofly book columnist Carole McKellar gives us a look at the different sub-genres of mystery novels and shares some of her all-time nail-biting favorites.
From the beginning, the mystery has taken many forms. Its various subgenres include:
These stories feature a protagonist who is not a professional investigator or law enforcement officer. One recent favorite is “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” featuring a precocious 11-year-old girl, Flavia de Luce, who solves crimes in the sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey.
In 1923, Dorothy L. Sayers intorduced Lord Peter Wimsey, an aristocrat who, with the help of his butler, Bunter, solves crimes in 20’s-era London. In the 1920s, Agatha Christie wrote the first of her 66 mysteries. Her most famous protagonists were the detective, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple.
Cozy mysteries are essentially bloodless and neat. The victim won’t be missed and the solution is generally determined using emotional or logical reasoning. The cozy mystery usually takes place in a small town or village.
Mysteries featuring private detectives are arguably the largest subgenre of mystery fiction. In addition to my early interest in Sherlock Holmes, I was a big Nero Wolfe fan. Nero Wolfe, created by Rex Stout, was a brilliant, eccentric detective who had a sidekick, Archie Goodwin, as his chronicler in much the same way that Dr. Watson wrote the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
In the 1930’s, Dashiell Hammett wrote ‘hard-boiled’ detective fiction. Among his well-known characters are Sam Spade from “The Maltese Falcon” and Nick and Nora Charles from “The Thin Man,” both of which became classic films. In the late 1930s, Raymond Chandler introduced his private detective, Philip Marlowe. Ross Macdonald, the pseudonym of Kenneth Millar, is credited with new levels of literary sophistication in his series featuring the detective Lew Archer.
Other popular writers of detective fiction include Robert B. Parker, who wrote 40 novels about the private investigator, Spenser. John D. MacDonald created the much read Travis McGee series of mysteries and sold an estimated 70 million books in his career.
In the 1970s, female private detectives gained popularity. Marcia Muller, Sara Peretsky, and Sue Grafton created tough, brainy females who don’t shy away from violence in a quest for the truth. Many of the private detective novels are part of a series. Sue Grafton, for example, is the author of the “alphabet series” featuring private investigator Kinsey Milhone. The 24th novel, “X,” was released in 2015.
Police crime novels are a subgenre of detective fiction that depicts the solving of crimes by the police. Some masters of the form and the detectives they created are Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch) , Jeffrey Deaver, (Lincoln Rhyme), John Sandford (Lucas Davenport), and James Patterson (Alex Cross), and Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins).
My favorite police series of mysteries was written by John Dunning and featured a Denver cop named Cliff Janeway. Dunning owned the Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver, which specialized in rare books. Detective Janeway is an avid collector of rare first editions and the five books in the series are filled with information about the book trade.
Lawyers are the major characters in this subgenre of crime fiction. John Grisham is arguably the most famous practitioner of the group. His breakout novel,
“The Firm,” sold more than seven million copies. Linda Fairstein was a real-life District Attorney specializing in the prosecution of sex crimes, and her series, featuring the prosecutor Alexandra Cooper, concerns crimes against women.
Authors with a medical background write most medical mysteries. Tess Gerritsen, retired physician, started out writing romantic thrillers, but gained prominence writing thrillers based on her medical experience. Patricia Cornwell worked as a technical writer for the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia, which inspired Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell’s crime novels have sold more than 100 million copies.
Spy thrillers emerged in the early 20th century, inspired by rivalries between global powers and the emergence of modern intelligence agencies. The two World Wars, the Cold War, and the development of global terror networks provide the background for spy novels.
The most famous fictional spy is the glamorous secret agent, James Bond, created by Ian Fleming. My personal favorite writer of the genre is John Le Carre, a former British spy. Le Carre creates anti-heroic protagonists who struggle with ethical issues and aren’t as one-dimensional as Bond.
Noir is a genre of crime fiction “characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.” Two varieties that have gained popularity are “Tartan Noir” and “Nordic Noir.
Val McDermid is a Scottish crime writer, best known for a series of suspense novels featuring Dr. Tony Hill. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander propelled Scandinavian crime fiction into a worldwide phenomenon. Peter Hoeg wrote the atmospheric novel, “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” that is my personal favorite of the genre.
Set in a particular time period, historical mysteries are usually well researched. Ellis Peters wrote mysteries involving a Benedictine monk, Brother Cadfael, which are set in 12th century Britain. Umberto Eco wrote “The Name of the Rose” about a murder that took place in an Italian monastery in the 14th century. Elizabeth Peters, an Egyptologist, wrote a series of mysteries set in Egypt featuring Amelia Peabody, an Egyptologist and amateur crime solver.
Not a favorite of mine, there are a few romance mysteries that I enjoyed. “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier, a novel which has never gone out of print since its publication in 1938, is moody and unforgettable.“Possession” by A.S. Byatt, a 1990 Booker Prize winner, switches between the present and the Victorian era. The novel features two academics in pursuit of the true story of two Victorian poets believed to be in a love relationship. The academics fall for each other and echo the perceived relationship they are researching.
Psychological thrillers emphasize the psychological states of the characters. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn was a huge bestseller at its publication in 2012. “The Girl On the Train” by Paula Hawkins has sold more than 15 million copies in the U.S. alone. Perhaps the most terrifying psychological thriller was “The Silence of the Lambs” by Tomas Harris, published in 1988.
Narrowing the field of mystery fiction for reader recommendations is a difficult task. I’ve left out so many worthy authors and novels. Two websites for information about mystery fiction are www.stopyourekillingme.com and bestmysterybooks.com. “Stop, You’re Killing Me,” lists over 4,900 authors including winners of prestigious awards such as the Edgar Award, named for Edgar Allen Poe. The Mystery Writers of America gives the Edgar awards annually to honor the best in mystery fiction. A reader could not go wrong reading Edgar award-winning fiction.
My friend, Jane Lee, is an excellent source of mystery titles for me. Jane compiled a list she calls “A Dozen Mystery Classics” that I’d like to share it with you.
1. “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett
2. “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler
3. “The Chill” by Ross MacDonald
4. “An Unsuitable Job for a Woman” by P.D. James
5. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” by John LeCarre
6. “A Place of Execution” by Val McDermid
7. “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris
8. “The Thief of Time” by Tony Hillerman
9. “Briarpatch” by Ross Thomas
10. “ Black Cherry Blues” by James Lee Burke
11. “The Judas Goat” by Robert B. Parker
12. “Strangers on a Train” by Patricia Highsmith
Mysteries earn more than $730 million a year and are popular throughout the world. The basic appeal of mystery fiction is the ingenious resolution of a problem. The fact that the problem usually involves murder doesn’t deter the reader. We are content to observe the criminal at work as long as the wrongdoer is punished. The problem solver is smarter and tougher, and the solution of the puzzle usually appeals to our sense of right and wrong. In an uncertain world, the sense of order displayed in mystery and crime stories is satisfying to the reader.
What's Up, Waveland - March 2017
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the Waveland St. Paddy's Parade, a benefit for Friends of the Animal Shelter, a Waveland city clean-up, city insurance savings and more!
Friends of the Animal Shelter Benefit
Susan McManus will be hosting a creative arts sale at her home at 304 Nicholson Avenue from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, March 18th. The sale will include wall art, mosaics, wreaths, birdhouses, and many other handmade items to decorate homes, inside and out. The proceeds from the sales will benefit the Friends of the Animal Shelter of Hancock County.
If you have any questions please contact Susan McManus at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor’s Cleanup Day
The following is a message from Mayor Mike Smith:
I am really excited to announce this cleanup day in the City of Waveland. Highway 90 is the focus area for this effort and will include picking up litter, grass cutting, planting and the business owners/property owners that participate will be asked to address issues at their property with the help of volunteers.
Issues include things such as signs, painting and items that are in need of repair. Involved parties will include Public Works, Litter Department Community Service, Keep Waveland Beautiful and Team Waste. Highway 90 is the gateway to the city and should look more attractive for visitors. If you are interested in helping please contact city hall. The date is March 24th. beginning at 8:00 am.
Random News and Notes
It was approved in February that the Central Fire Station on Highway 90 will be dedicated and named “David A. Garcia Central Fire Station” to honor former Chief and Mayor David Garcia for his many years of dedication and service to the city of Waveland.
Waveland changed the city's property insurance to Betz, Rosetti, & Associates, Inc. and was able to lower our premium by 17%.
At Home in the Bay - March 2017
An Art-Full Acadian
Artists Dale and Pam Simmons's combined creative vision allowed them to see the possibilities in this Waveland fixer-upper, now a welcoming home and studio.
- story by Ellis Anderson, photos by Ellis Anderson and Pam Simmons
Arts Alive - March 2017
BSL's Got Talent
Demonstrating artists and a series of live, competitive events make this art show different from any other in the region. Find out what's in store for this year's Arts Alive! festival.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson and Cynthia Mahner
"Every year we are astounded by the outpouring of interesting and talented artists. We want the community to know them and their artistic processes, while fostering relationships between the people and businesses here," said Martha Whitney Butler, Arts President.
An ever-evolving event, the organizers are promising to continue "Celebrating Art, Engaging Communities, Enriching Lives."
The format of ArtsAlive! is tailored to Old Town, the heart of the well-known Bay St. Louis arts community that’s filled with more than 70 galleries, shops and restaurants. The beachfront downtown area is made for walking and there is convenient parking nearby in the municipal garage on Court Street. First-time visitors will quickly see why Bay St. Louis has landed on so many lists for visitors.
ArtsAlive! consists of showcases for artists and artisans, filmmakers and songwriters and contests with cash prizes for writers, singer-songwriters and amateur chefs.
Artist and Artisan Showcase:
Regional artists and artisans will be found throughout the historic downtown district at host locations, demonstrating and discussing their work as well as selling it.
Apply to the Artist Showcase or the Artisan Showcase on The Arts website.
Popular local musicians Rochelle Harper and Boz, who have played for audiences around the world, will be judging the contest, which is produced by the Mockingbird Cafe (110 South Second Street) in partnership with The Arts, Hancock County.
The public is invited to live performances by contest semi-finalists beginning at 3 p.m. Winners will be announced 15 minutes after the last finalist performs. The top three winners will take home cash prizes of $150, $75 and $50.
Flash Fiction Contest:
The topic will be revealed to entrants at 10 a.m. at Bay Books (131 Main St.) and they have until 1 p.m. to turn in their 400 word (or less) pieces. Writers will read their own entries aloud to an audience and be judged between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., when cash prizes will be awarded.
Short Film Showcase:
New this year is a short film category, featuring works by local filmmakers. The films will close out the evening.
Three chef judges will pick the top three entries of amateur chefs in a Serious Salsa Down South competition hosted by Serious Bread (131 Main St. Suite D) in partnership with The Arts, Hancock County!
Entries will be judged on taste as well as presentation and originality. After the judging, 50 members of the public selected on a first come, first serve basis will sample the entries and select one as the People's Choice winner.
In conjunction with ArtsAlive! there will be a juried show reception March 17 for members and patron of The Arts, Hancock County, and the Pass Christian Art Association upstairs at 200 North Beach Restaurant. Pieces will be on display until the end of the month.
The goal continues to be showcasing and promoting the best of the arts. With the support of ArtsAlive! sponsors and other partners, members of The Arts, Hancock County are fostering the next generation of artists and encouraging more interest in art through their activities.
Second Saturday - March 2017
Second Saturday Souper Mudfest
After Katrina, one of the things people here often mentioned that they missed most was the popular Farmers Market off Longfellow Road. On Saturdays, people would come from up and down the Coast to buy produce, plants, art, sweets and other items from a large pool of vendors. Locals and visitors made it a ritual to shop, visit with friends and load up on something to eat, cook or plant every Saturday.
There were a few attempts to bring the market back after Katrina but nothing ever took hold until late 2016 when David and Cindy Kenny of Bay St. Louis spearheaded the effort to get the market going again. They researched farmers market operations, courted vendors, printed flyers and began promoting the market with the cooperation and support of county and city officials.
On the Shoofly
Since opening day on Dec. 3, the new Hancock County Farmers Market has attracted a growing list of vendors. Shoppers can buy local honey, fresh goat cheese, a large selection of locally grown produce, homemade Italian dishes and sweets, jellies and jams, locally brewed coffee, hydroponically grown lettuce and herbs, locally made hot tamales, Mississippi peanuts and a variety of homemade products such as cleaners, soaps and candles. Handmade jewelry, wooden signs, lamps and other items are on sale as well under the covered pavilions.
The response has been highly favorable. One shopper wrote on the Farmers Market Facebook page: “Oh my goodness what a wonderful market. We had the best time visiting with all the vendors this morning. Fresh lettuce, basil, pepper lettuce, bay leaves, lasagna, stuffed bell peppers, Olive salad mix, eggplant caponata, The little Italian man was absolutely awesome. Essential oils and soaps by a wonderful couple who were very knowledgeable. We just had an absolute blast cannot wait … to get here to see what the farmers market vendors will bring then.”
As springtime nears, the expectations are high that more vendors and more items will be available every Saturday.
Follow the Hancock County Farmers Market on Facebook at @HancockCoFarmersMarket for updates on vendors and other information.
Vintage Vignette - March 2017
The Doctor is In
- story by Martha Whitney Butler, photos by Ellis Anderson
She's the Ms. Fix-It of Main Street. "A Stitch In Time" owner Annie Holbrook moved her business to Main Street several years ago with a mission in mind - to serve as one of the South's only doll doctors.
Has your Betsy Wetsy stopped--well--wetsy-ing? Has your Madame Alexander rolled her eyes at you so many times that they are now permanently facing the back her head? Has your grandmother's porcelain French doll lost a finger?
"Go see Annie at Magnolia Antiques," says every antique dealer in town. We recommend her like we recommend a general practitioner or dermatologist. She's a certified Doll Doctor with a steady surgeon's hand that can fix nearly any doll or restore it back to near-mint condition.
From her stories, it sounds like Annie had a beautiful childhood. She can identify and tap into the childhood memories of her customers and bring them to the surface with one of her many vintage toys.
She's a good listener, too! After all, it's hard not to share the fond memories you had with your Raggedy Ann doll or your Dr. Seuss books while you're standing in her booth at Magnolia Antiques. She's got a few up her sleeves.
She's repaired dolls that have been through fires, floods, and the toughest elements - grandchildren. She's even had a customer send her a haunted doll! Now THAT is pretty creepy.
There are so many touching stories that she has shared with me. She once told me about a doll that a little girl carried throughout the holocaust that bore a secret message inside of it. Sometimes I think she repairs much more than just the dolls-she heals the customers too.
When I start to miss my Glo-Worm, or when I go home and assess my 401k retirement plan of Madame Alexander dolls and Beanie Babies, I just call Annie up and chat with her. Once in a while she'll give me an awesome broken doll face or cracked composite doll head for me to use in my bizarre artwork.
She's constantly making people's days and is just a great person to know and talk to. So if you're ever in need of some doll medicine, or just want to revisit your childhood, go see the doll-faced doctor (with the best bedside manner in town) at Magnolia Antiques, 200 Main Street, Bay St. Louis on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Good Neighbor - March 2017
- story by Anna Hirshfield
Shared History - March 2017
Historic Tour of Old Town
- story by Rebecca Orfila, photos by Ellis Anderson
Many buildings in Bay St. Louis are over a century old and have survived fires, storms and demolition. Several of these outstanding architectural gems are showcased in a biking and walking tour that directs visitors and residents on an entertaining one-and-a third-mile circuit through Old Town. The guide features 24 sites and buildings along the route that winds through the heart of the coastal town.
Digital versions of the tour can be easily accessed on mobile devices. They’re available right here on the Shoofly Magazine website and on the website for the Old Town Merchants Association.
Printed copies of the brochures make popular souvenirs, and can be picked up for free at various locations throughout Old Town, including several shops and restaurants. The Hancock County Visitor Center in the historic L&N train depot always has a good supply.
Although the depot is not officially the starting point of the tour, it’s a popular one, since there’s plenty of free parking and it houses two small museums. The Mardi Gras Museum is on the first floor and showcases a changing exhibit of extraordinary costumes by legendary designer Carter Church.
The Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum on the second floor honors the works of Moseley, a nationally known folk artist and beloved resident of Bay St. Louis for many years until her death in 2004. The museum contains a collection of her original paintings and is open daily, except Sundays and holidays. Admission is free.
Tercentenary Park, which memorializes Bienville’s entrance into the Bay of St. Louis over 300 years ago. The park is located on the point of highest elevation on the Gulf of Mexico - 31 feet. It’s the official starting point of the tour, but one can begin anywhere and enjoy the stroll.
The Palm House, close to the Depot (217 Union Street), is a West Indies Planter style house built in the 1880s. For many years, it was the home of Joan Seal, the wife of a circuit judge. Mrs. Seal was recognized as a generous philanthropist in this area and so devoted to her dogs that she left provisions for them in her will.
100 Men Hall, located at 303 Union Street, isn’t on the tour’s official route, but is suggested as an “Off the Beaten Trail” destination. The blue and white clapboard building was built in 1922, and was such an important and popular site for music - and socializing - that it is included on the official Mississippi Blues Trail.
The first printings were completed with the help of a grant from the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area and funding from Live Oak and other local sponsors. Currently, printings are coordinated by the Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau and are sponsored by the Bureau, the Hancock County Historical Society and Ellis Anderson Media.
Myrna Greene, executive director of the Bureau, calls the tour brochure “the most effective and popular tool we have to introduce people to Bay St. Louis.” It’s updated periodically and is scheduled for a fourth reprinting in March 2017.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the tour however, is the people you’ll meet along the way. When you’re taking the tour, expect the warm and friendly nature of the neighbors along the way to make the experience even more memorable. I even had someone ask me for directions to the Hancock County Historical Society. I gave them the guide. You wouldn’t want to miss Kate Lobrano’s house on Cue Street!
Coast Cuisine - March 2017
Dunk's Southern Style Buffet
Address: 228 Coleman Ave., Waveland
Phone: (228) 231-1157
- by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
Dunk’s Southern Style Buffet & Catering is all about being Southern. The Waveland restaurant promises “good ole down-home soul Southern cooking. Southern Food. Southern Style. The Southern Way.”
Owner Lisa Dunklin keeps that promise at lunch with classics like fried chicken, homemade mac and cheese, green beans, red beans and rice, fried okra, fried chicken gizzards, chicken and dumplings, cornbread, you get the idea.
The restaurant has been open for a year in the post-Katrina building that was originally a business incubator. The restaurant space is airy and bright and comfortable for enjoying a quick bite or a leisurely lunch.
The chicken, billed as Dunk's Famous Fried Chicken, was crispy, well seasoned and moist, the pork chops were fork-tender in a dark gravy and the mac and cheese was hearty. A fellow diner raved about the sweet potato casserole topped with tiny marshmallows.
Dunklin, who cooks all the food at Dunk’s, said the fried chicken is by far the most popular dish, followed by her red beans. “The fried chicken is our no. 1 seller,” she said. Her secret: the mix of seasonings. Like a lot of good cooks, she wouldn’t reveal much else about the process or ingredients.
And, yes, there are assorted cakes, pies and cobblers for dessert for those who pace themselves.
Prices for the buffet are $10.69 Monday through Thursday and $12.69 Friday through Sunday for adults. Children can eat for $6.99 weekdays and $7.99 on weekends. Carry out boxes start at $8.99.
Across the Bridge - March 2017
A Dovecote and its Backstory
A bridge is out on Louisiana 10, and we are running a little late. It is dusk dark when I turn the car into the long drive of Butler Greenwood Plantation in St. Francisville.
Each time I visit, the beauty astounds, with live oak sentries and ravines full of azaleas in that fuchsia color of 1960’s lipstick. A light rain makes the leaves oily. There is a spooky kind of light that halos buildings. The UPS driver refuses to deliver here after dark.
“No Tours,” says a matter-of-fact sign at the entrance. Tourists often ignore it and knock at Anne Butler’s door to ask when the Big House is open. It’s not. But eight cabins out back are.
Across the Bridge
But Anne wasn’t standing in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning. She just was. And nobody has more to write about.
One hot August day in 1997, the late Murray Henderson, Anne’s estranged husband and a former warden of nearby Angola, emptied his .38 pistol into the abdomen of his wife of seven years and then, for two hours, waited for her to bleed to death. By feigning death, she survived.
“Never shoot a writer,” Anne has said. She’ll get a book out of it.
Henderson died in prison. Anne wrote her book. After many surgeries, she is still blond, slender and beautiful, successfully running her family’s plantation as a bed and breakfast. She writes about that, too, showcasing her trademark sense of humor as we visitors come and go and amuse her in countless ridiculous ways.
I like to stay in the cabin called the Dovecote, which reminds me of something you might see in France. It is the perfect mixture of romance and practicality, comfort and slightly absurd design.
I can just imagine telling a contractor in Tishomingo County, for instance, that you want a three-story, pentagonal-shaped dwelling that looks like a windmill built on the side of a deep ravine with decks leading into it. “Say what?”
At the Dovecote, you know for certain you’re not at the Holiday Inn Express.
Besides visiting Anne, we are eager to see and hear Mississippi writer Deborah Johnson, whose latest novel, The Secret of Magic, is textured and powerful. People inevitably compare Deborah’s work with The Help, but I find it much better, far more bona fide, like Nanci Kincaid’s Crossing Blood.
And Melissa Delbridge, the Duke archivist turned memoirist, will be reading from Family Bible, not a religious book. I met Melissa in Fairhope, Ala., as the two of us sat at a bookstore table hoping someone would come buy our work. When few did, we swapped books. I’ve been a fan of hers ever since.
I don’t know Louisiana poet laureate Peter Cooley of New Orleans, also staying at Butler Greenwood, who looks like Woody Allen. He hooks a ride with Carole and me to several events and turns out to be just as funny as Woody in his Columbo raincoat and weenie dog socks.
But his poems are deadly serious, and in Night Bus to the Afterlife, his post-Katrina work, knocks you for an emotional loop.
Soon enough, but not for long enough, Carole and I are sitting in the kitchen of this unlikely pigeon house in the woods, toasting the literary adventure and feeling sorry for everyone else. Nice work if you can get it, this reading and writing stuff.
Before turning in, I stand on the Dovecote porch and look into the misty night, imagining all the blood, sweat and tears my friend Anne has invested in this place. It is her family and forever home, its trees planted from acorns in the 1790s, both anchor and albatross, I imagine, without any real way to know.
Beach to Bayou - March 2017
Celebrate the Gulf!
- by LB Kovac
Celebrate the Gulf is one of many outreach programs sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR). The festival is free and offers many fun opportunities for children to learn more about Mississippi’s diverse marine life.
And while the Gulf is home to millions of species of plants and animals, most children rarely see them except on the Discovery Channel or on their plates. At Celebrate the Gulf, they can get up close and personal with many of these species – including sharks, dolphins, and lionfish.
Melissa Scallan, MDMR’s director of public affairs, reports that last year’s festival was a big success, and this year’s event will be even bigger.
The exciting Raptor Roadshow – featuring birds of prey - schooner rides of the harbor, and coloring contests will be returning. Representatives from the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and the International Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) will also be on hand to answer questions and lead activities.
Oysters are a valuable commodity to the Mississippi economy; last year, hundreds of thousands of bushels were harvested from gulf reefs, where they eventually ended up on plates across the United States. Oysters also play an important part in the state’s marine ecology - they attract blue crabs, starfish, and other sea creatures to the gulf’s waters.
It takes about two years for an American oyster to reach full “market” size – about 3 inches, in length. During those first two years of their lives, the little mollusks live in clusters, called “reefs,” on the seabed, where they filter the water for plankton, their favorite food.
It might seem like every restaurant has oysters on the menu, but they are not nearly as prevalent as they were fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago. Oyster harvests across the country are currently at 1% of historic levels.
Pollutants from natural disasters like the BP oil spill down severely depleted local reefs, and “aquatic hitchhiking” has introduced invasive species, like the Southern oyster drill, which eat the oysters at a rate faster than they can reproduce.
When people or objects like boats or buoys enter the water - even for a short time - plant life, small animals, and microscopic organisms make themselves at home on fabric, plastic, and other common materials. When the people go elsewhere or the objects are moved, they can take these “hitchhikers” with them, inadvertently spreading them to an area where they can harm plants or animals in another vicinity.
Luckily, as you’ll learn at the festival, aquatic hitchhiking is easily preventable. Rinsing off clothing, boats, and equipment at the dock or near the site can ensure that species native to the area stay there. You’ll do your part to protect the species currently in Mississippi waters.
For the past six years, Celebrate the Gulf has paired with Art in the Pass. Scallan says that the co-events provide the perfect opportunity for families to have fun and learn more about the world around them.
“People can come to one place [for Art in the Pass and Celebrate the Gulf]. There are lots of events for kids, and lots of opportunities for education,” she said.
Talk of the Town - March 2017
Bring It to the Bay
- story by LB Kovac, photos by Ellis Anderson
Mind, Body, Spirit - March 2017
Is Longevity Tied to Telomeres?
- story by Christina Richardson, PhD.
Sponsor Spotlight - March 2017
Crawford Realty Group
- by Ellis Anderson
Day Tripping - March 2017
Bellingrath Gardens and Beyond
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Lisa Monti and courtesy Bellingrath Gardens.
Across The Bridge
At Home In The Bay
Beach To Bayou
BSL Council Updates
Casting My Net
Coast Lines Column
Friends Of The Animal Shelter
Growing Up Downtown
House And Garden
Legends And Legacies
Mother Of Pearl
Murphy's Musical Notes
Old Town Merchants
On The Shoofly
Shore Thing Fishing Report
Talk Of The Town
The Eyes Have It